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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
Chris,
Your idea to provide the time schedule of each variation inside the two parts makes sense, and so I spent time trying to answer to your request. Therefore, I am attaching a list of the variations, with titles and times. Hope it's OK.
Also, as promissed, I am proposing an addendum to the Goldberg page, giving some explanations about the structure of the composition. Of course, entire books could be written (and have probably been) about it, but I hope these lines may help the listeners in finding clues in this labyrinthus.
As usual, my limited English needs editing. A last point: could you give the year of recording ('1992) ? Thanks !
---------------------------------------------
GOLDBERG VARIATIONS
Part 1
Aria 00:00
Variation 1 01:59
Variation 2 02:56
Variation 3 Canone all'Unisuono 03:50
Variation 4 04:58
Variation 5 05:32
Variation 6 Canone alla Seconda 06:17
Variation 7 al tempo di Giga 07:03
Variation 8 08:10
Variation 9 Canone alla Terza 09:07
Variation 10 Fughetta 10:19
Variation 11 11:08
Variation 12 Canone alla Quarta 12:12
Variation 13 13:20
Variation 14 15:49
Variation 15 Canone alla Quinta 16:53

Part 2
Variation 16 Ouverture 00:00
Variation 17 01:33
Variation 18 Canone alla Sesta 02:34
Variation 19 03:13
Variation 20 04:02
Variation 21 Canone alla Settima 05:06
Variation 22 Alla breve 06:55
Variation 23 07:38
Variation 24 Canone all'Ottava 08:44
Variation 25 Adagio 10:05
Variation 26 13:46
Variation 27 Canone alla Nona 14:50
Variation 28 15:38
Variation 29 16:52
Variation 30 Quodlibet 17:55
Aria 18:47

(Chris: I tried to attach the Excel file, but appartently the system does not like this format !)
----------------------------------------------
The structure of the Goldberg variations deserve some explanations. It can be seen as a circle, starting and ending by the Aria. Between those two gates, we find 30 varions, organised according to a sequence of ten sets of three variations. Each variation is supported by the same bass line, and, more or less, the same harmonic structure, although some of them are in minor mood.

The 3-variation sets always comprise a first variation of varied structure (a dance, a fughetta, a two- or three-part invention etc.). Then comes a virtuosity one, followed by a canon. A canon is a piece of polyphony, where the second voice is the same as the first one, but delayed in time (the delay can be a measure, e.g.).

In the first canon ('all unisuono', in Italian), the second voice is the repetition of the first one. In the second one ('alla seconda'), the second voice starts one tone higher, and so on until the canon alla Nona, where the interval between the two voices is a 9th. In order to avoid total symetry, which could bring some dryness and a too abstract character, Bach no longer writes a canon for the last set of three pieces, but rather a 'Quodlibet'. In this marvelous piece, there are actually two superimposed themes being popular German songs. The original titles of these two songs are 'Ich bin so lang nicht bei dir g'west' () and 'Kraut und Rüben haben mich vertrieben' (). This is just an example of how the Cantor could transmute any trivial material in sublime matter...

There are finally three levels in the Goldberg structure: the most macroscopic shows a first part of aria + 15 variations, and the second part which can be seen as the same, but viewed in a mirror (15 variations + aria). Each part lasts about 20 minutes, or the double if the repetitions are performed, which must be the case for concert performance. The second level of analysis is the one of the three-variation sets. The third level is the one of each separate variation, all of them being beautiful and consistent pieces. We could even find a fourth level, since each variation is two-fold: the first half coming from the tonic to the dominant (that is from G to D), the second half doing the reverse way (from the dominant to the tonic, D to G). Again a mirror... Bach is probably one of the very few composers having succeeded in mixing a very mathematical structure of the music with the highest spiritual, but also sensual and emotional efficiency. The Goldberg is perhaps his most acomplished work in this matter.

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"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:28 am
Posts: 1250
Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
My recommended edits are underlined. The few deletions are not evident.
Quote:
The structure of the Goldberg variations deserve some explanations. It can be seen as a circle, starting and ending by the Aria. Between those two gates, we find 30 variations, organised according to a sequence of ten sets of three variations. Each variation is supported by the same bass line, and, more or less, the same harmonic structure, although some of them are in the minor mode.

The 3-variation sets always comprise a first variation of varied structure (a dance, a fughetta, a two- or three-part invention etc.). Then comes one featuring virtuosity, followed by a canon. A canon is a piece of polyphony, where the second voice is a repetition of the first one, but delayed in time (the delay can be a measure, e.g.).

In the first canon ('all unisuono', in Italian), the second voice is an exact repetition of the first one. In the second one ('alla seconda'), the second voice starts one tone higher, and so on until the canon alla Nona, where the interval between the two voices is a 9th. In order to avoid total symetry, which could bring some dryness and a too abstract character, Bach no longer writes a canon for the last set of three pieces, but rather a 'Quodlibet'. In this marvelous piece, there are actually two superimposed themes, each being popular German songs. The original titles of these two songs are 'Ich bin so lang nicht bei dir g'west' and 'Kraut und Rüben haben mich vertrieben'. This is just one example of how the great Cantor could transmute any trivial material into sublime matter...

Finally, there are three levels in the Goldberg structure: the most macroscopic shows a first part of aria + 15 variations, and the second part which can be seen as the same, but viewed in a mirror (15 variations + aria). Each part lasts about 20 minutes, or the double if the repetitions are performed, which must be the case for concert performance. The second level of analysis is the one of the three-variation sets. The third level is the one of each separate variation, all of them being beautiful and consistent pieces. We could even find a fourth level, since each variation is binary: the first half going from the tonic to the dominant (that is from G to D), the second half returning to the tonic from the dominant (D to G). Again a mirror... Bach is probably one of the very few composers who has succeeded in mixing a very mathematical structure of the music with the highest spiritual, but also sensual and emotional efficiency. The Goldberg is perhaps his most acomplished work in this matter.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Location: Lyon, France
Thanks Eddy ! Have a good sunday (it is over here...),

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François
"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
François Couperin (1668-1733)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Posts: 9534
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Thanks Francois. I have edited your text a bit and will append it to the Goldberg page tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:30 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
techneut wrote:
Thanks Francois. I have edited your text a bit and will append it to the Goldberg page tomorrow.

I hope you caught any spelling mistakes that I didn't catch, since I make so many all the time. :mrgreen:

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:39 am 
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musical-md wrote:
I hope you caught any spelling mistakes that I didn't catch, since I make so many all the time. :mrgreen:

Sure have. Amusing to see you set out correcting someone else's text :P

Francois, this is all on the site now. Please check for errors. I did change some of the wording and spelling in your text but otherwise left it alone as it is good stuff. Just appended it to what was already there.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
techneut wrote:
Amusing to see you set out correcting someone else's text
I thought I might try to be helpful.

Edit: Added "t" to though[t] :roll:

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


Last edited by musical-md on Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:44 pm 
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I appreciate it Eddy.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:25 am 
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Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
techneut wrote:
Francois, this is all on the site now. Please check for errors.

Hello Chris,
Apparently everything is OK except the link between my page and the Goldberg's one, which is wrong (when you click on it, you're lead to the main screen of PS). Thanks for fixing !

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François
"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
François Couperin (1668-1733)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:58 am 
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Oops :oops:
It's fixed now.

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Superb playing of the beautiful Goldberg variations. Some of these variations are very difficult but you tackle the technical demanding passages extremely well without loosing the music. Fantastic! Definitely deserves a tweet ;).

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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
Thanks Robert for your kind appreciation. Well, this is not as perfect as Gould versions, for instance, but I practiced these pieces a lot, and I keep a memory of this period like a journey in Heaven. It is strange how this music can take you out of all life troubles...

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François
"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
François Couperin (1668-1733)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:45 am 
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Hi Francois, I just listened to the first half and I'm very impressed by the freshness, passion and love toward the music that your performance revealed! Thank you!

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"The love for music. The respect for the composer. The desire to express something that reaches and moves the listener." (Montserrat Caballé about her main motivation for becoming a singer)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:19 am 
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hyenal wrote:
Hi Francois, I just listened to the first half and I'm very impressed by the freshness, passion and love toward the music that your performance revealed! Thank you!

Thanks Hye-Jin, I am pleased that this passion can be heared and, maybe, communicated in spite of the low quality of the recording. Regards,

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François
"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
François Couperin (1668-1733)


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 Post subject: Re: Bach - Goldberg Variations
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:29 am 
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Really excellent!


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